Is it at sort of pyramid scheme?… and other challenges

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I have had this blog post in my head and in the draft corner of WordPress for a while and I finally decided to set some time aside this weekend to write it. It took coffee with a good friend this week to spur me on. She knows me and I love her and she knows that I wouldn’t get involved in anything dodgy or unethical, but she still had this view that the whole Younique thing is ‘one of those pyramid schemes’.

So.  Thank you for spurring me into action. Here is the answer Ive been meaning to write. For a long time.

21458275_10154640009167811_4910145196119221547_oI know I will never change everyone’s mind. Some people will always assume that anything like this is a bit dodgy and too good to be true. Some people have made up their mind, because they once knew someone who failed at this sort of thing, or they joined one themselves and it ‘didn’t work’ or because they hate people trying to sell stuff on Facebook, but these are the facts.

Pyramid schemes are illegal.

Younique is not a pyramid scheme (neither for that matter is Avon, Jamberry, Tupperware, Ann Summers, Mary Kay, Scentsy or Stella and Dot)

Anyway. First things first. My story

Its November 2015. I’m living in London.  I have a 4 year old son, a full time job and I am nearly out of mascara….

At the time I had no idea about direct sales or MLM. No idea at all. Id like to say I was aware of it, but I wasn’t even that switched on. I admit, I had a couple of mates who appeared to be selling something on social media. There were suddenly photos of them in the car with lipstick on or just an image of their hand holding a smoothie shaker and I did wonder what it was all about … but before I really get interested, they seem to stop doing it so I never really dig any deeper.

No-one comes to Facebook to be sold to.

But that morning, my Benefit Mascara started showing signs that it had reached the end of its life, so I popped onto the laptop to order a new one…. but before I could do it I was distracted and there, on Facebook, was a photo of a fairly distant acquaintance… and a caption about this new mascara she had tried.

Now. I remembered at this point that I had seen it before. But at the time I was happy with my current tube of mascara so I’d ignored it. But today, I was interested and there was Sarah… looking gorgeous.  She always looks gorgeous and I valued her opinion in make up matters so I sent her a message.

To be honest, until now I had avoided people who were selling me stuff or sending me odd unsolicited messages about how I could join their team.. but Sarah hadn’t done that. She had just shared something and it just so happened that I was in the market for that thing at that time….(there’s a lesson here for anyone who wonders why people don’t buy straight away… they don’t always need it right then!)

So I ordered. She delivered. I tried. I fell in love.

I wanted to know about the other products and told her that I would be her best customer. “no, I don’t want to join your team – just let me buy from you!”

At this stage I was not (I still am not) a huge make up wearer. I was scared of lipstick, eyeliner and eyeshadow. I wore blush, foundation and mascara. BUT I had a massive bag of failed purchases.  Everything from Estee Lauder to MUA and I just couldn’t seem to get on with it.   I figured that I probably needed to know more but I never planned to become a make up addict. I’m still not. I wear a little every day and these days I do wear shadow and liner and lipstick but I’m not a make up artist and I am still learning.

I agreed to host a party. Online. We opened a group, she demonstrated stuff, we chatted, my friends bought a bit and I got rewards. It was win win.

Then she hit us with the ‘join my team’ thread. So I started to do some research. Convinced that it was not for me and was not a good idea. But I knew so little about direct sales and MLMs that I actually didn’t know what to search for!

Eventually, lured by a pretty amazing kit of make up for not very much money, I went for it – convinced that I would be able to get my own mascara at a discount at least. And I continued my research.

So what didn’t I know?

Some DS companies charge their presenters/reps/consultants for a website.

Others charge extra to sell to different markets (outside of their home country)
Some don’t manufacture the goods, they just act as an aggregator for other manufacturers
Some demand that customers and reps set up an auto ship (a regular order)
Some demand that a monthly sales target it hit
Some pay their consultants monthly
Some don’t pay at all. You buy from them in bulk and sell on so you just keep the difference
Some of them mean you spend hours at the post office or making deliveries and collecting cash
Some demand a penalty if you don’t sell having bought the kit
Some of them have uplines who are very pushy and demanding
Some are pyramid schemes…
Some demand that you carry a stock or an inventory of products

So. I’m waiting for my kit and I’m beginning to wonder if Ive done the right thing.

Did Younique demand all of these things? I should probably have read the presenter agreement a little closer…

So that’s what I did. And I contacted my sponsor and her sponsor and I started reading the Younique website a little more.

And this is what I found out…..

Younique DO NOT CHARGE their presenters for the website. That initial fee for the kit was it – for life
YES I can sell to ANY MARKET at all – no extra charge. My website covers everywhere that Younique sells to!
Younique manufacture it all themselves. New products are ‘our new products’
NO AUTOSHIP!
No targets. Yes, I need to sell $125 over a rolling 3 month period in order to stay ‘active’ but thats it.
PAID WITHIN 3 HOURS OF A SALE!
No bulk purchasing. No delivering.
Younique takes the payments and does all the work!
No penalties if I don’t sell. I keep the kit.
No pushy uplines (thank goodness) I have a great upline!
Its NOT A PYRAMID SCHEME. Pyramid schemes are when a person gets paid for bringing in another person to the business. If I recruit someone I GET NOTHING from them – and only benefit from their involvement when they are earning money themselves (and even then, I take nothing from them)
NO STOCK
 NO INVENTORY

So. I cracked on. Started chatting to people. Started selling products and without a single ugly ‘JOIN MY TEAM’ or ‘PLEASE BUY MY MASCARA’ post on Facebook, I had made my money back on the kit and was building a customer base.

So why did I join? Really? What was my aim?

I’m a professional project manager. I’m also a social media trainer and I build websites and social media channels for people. I make films to help them sell their services – so one of the most important questions I ask everyone I work with is: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE? WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?

In the case of Younique, the actual answer to this question is not that important. What is important is that YOU KNOW the answer and you align your efforts and expectations in that direction.

If you want to quit the day job and use your laptop on the beach then you need to give this more effort than someone who just wants to get a few quid off their next mascara purchase.

For me, the reason I joined was because I LOVED THE PRODUCT. Make no mistake. In all the research I have done so far, the single most important criteria for success in DS is loving what you sell. Would you buy it even if you didn’t sell it?

Of course my answer was yes.

My goals were really quite lowly at this time….

– I wanted to make enough money to enable me to get my own products for free.

That was it. In all honesty, I thought if I can make enough each month to overhaul my make up collection, then it will be worth it.

I watched other people. Other presenters and I saw how they did it. Not everything was great. There was still far too much ugly selling going on, but I learned about what works and what doesn’t. I reached out to my up line and I went side to side too. We share ideas and get advice from each other – for no financial gain – but the business gain is huge! There is so much knowledge out there!

So where am I now?

Well its ALMOST 2 years since I started. I’m half way up that ladder as a blue status presenter. I have a team of brilliant girls that I work with and who I support in any way I can. They are friends above all else and I am so lucky that we get on so well! We came within a whisker away from hitting Green elite status but it wasn’t to be this time… but it will be soon! I’m a very holistic person and I believe that stuff will happen at the right time. I support, but I never push my team – I know that we are all busy with family and day jobs and bigger issues like illness. Everyone is on their own very personal journey.

Each month I make enough to pay for treats or dig us out of a hole and it gets better all the time.

So how much did it cost and how much do I make?

Well, most things in life revolve around cash and we don’t all have a pot of money to waste, so financials are really important.

The initial outlay is low. I know that its relative. If you have £100 to last the month, then £69 is a massive chunk but consider what you get for it.

Forget how great the kit of make up is (at the time of writing the kit is worth over £300 retail value but only costs £69) the important thing to think about here is that you are buying a business opportunity. The great thing about direct sales is that you can actually start a business for a tiny amount of money and have loads of resources available so that you don’t need to pay out for them yourself in the early days.

Your website is included. No extra fees – ever.

Ok so your business is going to cost you: UK £69, United States $99, Canada $119, Australia $129, New Zealand $139, Germany / France / Spain / Ireland €107, Mexico $172 + shipping costs (which are low too and again at the time of writing this they are free!)

So honestly, if you like the make up and skincare, even if the whole selling thing isn’t for you, its probably worth the small outlay. Take the risk and put in some effort.

How much can I make? Well, its varied each month. The biggest variant in all honesty is me. If I work… it works. If I don’t do much then I don’t make much. Simple really.

Some people make incredible amounts of money. I had my presenter kit money back within a few days (so I basically got a pile of make up for free!) and have gone on to make enough to pay for treats, cover Xmas and other big events. Its not a get rich quick scheme but the big bucks are there… waiting for you!

Team Shine

The thought of building a team made me feel a bit sick to be honest but within a few weeks of joining and riding the wave of enthusiasm that I’d built for myself, my original plan to make enough for a free mascara every couple of months just didn’t seem quite ambitious enough.

I could see these girls doing more, and being more and I thought ‘I can do that’ ‘I can have that extra cash’ and in a lot of cases I also thought ‘hang on…. I can do BETTER than that!’

I read about other presenters and I looked at the compensation plan in more detail and I realised that even those at the top of the business didn’t have to hit crazy sales targets to earn tens of thousands of pounds. They had teams and as long as they were hitting the right markers each month then they would earn ‘residual income’.

The whole team thing threw me for a while. It seemed I was getting into that pyramid scheme territory… so it was time for some more reading. I learned about pyramid schemes. I learned that they generally had no products. They were just ‘join me’ schemes where I would have to recruit a person and if I did, I would take a chunk of their joining fee. So they would have to recruit people in order to gain their money back and the cycle continued.

No matter how many times I explain the difference between DS and a pyramid scheme, people still think it is one. Those people are probably not worth convincing otherwise and I know, as I write this that there will be replies and arguments. Some people just won’t listen or don’t care. Those people are not my people.

Anyway. Younique isn’t like that. If someone joins what do I get? Nothing. Nothing at all. No joining bonus, no fee, no percentage of their joining money. Fact is, if they join and do nothing at all, I’ve probably lost them as a customer so there is zero incentive to recruit and sell them a kit.

However if they start earning…. so do I. It’s in my interest to help my new recruits build a business and offering mentoring and leadership is of huge importance. The money I earn from my team doesn’t come from ‘my team’.. I don’t cream a lump off their income. I get paid extra by corporate for what my team does – I take nothing from them.

But in order to make anything from my team, well I have to be working too. No-one can build a team and sit back to rake in money on their efforts. There are plenty of stories of people who overtake their sponsors, because that person stops working. It happened to me, in fact.

Finding this out completely changed the way I look at Younique. My daily sales activity is important but supporting and mentoring my guys is my primary focus. If I constantly look down to them then the rest will work.

Many of my team are simply in it for the discount. They want the products at a good price. They like getting their hands on new things and they enjoy the commission. There is something to be said for ‘buying from yourself’ and when it comes to Xmas gifts its great to be able to give high quality cosmetics and know that in doing so you are building your own business AND getting cash back!

I have team mates who sell to their friends and family and I have others who are actively doing what I’m doing. Juggling their full time job, family and in many cases chronic illness to build a team and gain something bigger so that they can have a business and an income stream that is all their own.

No matter what my team want to get out of Younique, I am there to support them. And they support me right back. Make no mistake – I count these girls as my best friends.

Coaching

That brings me on to my role as a sponsor. I personally take this very seriously. I know others who recruit and let everyone crack on and who let the upline further up take on the mentoring position but I have a really strong view on this.

People join ‘YOU’… they don’t necessarily join YOUNIQUE.

Let me explain what I mean by that. While some people do look into the corporate background and they learn about the mission of the company (which incidentally is super wholesome and inspiring) there are many others who join because they see the make up and the opportunity to make money.  If they choose to join under you then its usually because its YOU!

‘YOUR VIBE ATTRACTS YOUR TRIBE’

You’ve seen it on those Pinterest motivational posts, but it is so true.

When I look at my team I can see I’m surrounded by people who are just like me. My team seems to represent every single facet of my personality! I introduce them to the wider Younique family, and add them to the training groups, bring them into conversations, and we ‘cross pollinate’ with other teams that are not attached, but at the end of the day these guys joined ‘ME’ and I absolutely recognise my responsibility to them. Telling them to crack on and passing them ‘up’ to someone who gets paid more than me is just not good enough.

17917410_10154230287282811_2587117958881547440_oI don’t have all the answers and I don’t want to keep my team to myself, but I must remain connected because we are connected.  I am available all the time. Its part of my role. I don’t switch off and tell people to ‘look at the website’, I help them and if I’m not around – my AWESOME team helps them.

In my day job I teach social media. I run accounts… I build websites…I read about Facebook algorithms day in day out. I get it. I teach it and I teach my team. I see my role in the team as being their coach and people who join my team get that additional benefit. It’s something that in my day job I charge for – but my gang get it free!

Anyone can join Younique. They go to the site, pick a sponsor and join. Same as buying the products. In order to attract people to ME I have to offer something that others can’t and I believe my knowledge and experience and of course my sparkling personality and legendary cooking (come visit – we have a spare room!) are just a few of those things.

My team want to know how to stand out on Facebook.  How to connect to others in an environment where EVERYONE seems to be (or related to) a Younique presenter. I can help with this. When my team ask for this training, they get it and its bespoke training.  I can focus on Pinterest, Instagram, videos, photos, graphics and anything else.

There are so many more options out there than joining ‘buy and sell’ groups or posting in ‘networking sites’ You can do this all on social media or you can do events and home parties. You don’t need to cringe as you post yet another ‘join my team’ thread… you can do it in any other way you like, and I can help you find that audience.

And if you are sick of being sent friend requests that suddenly turn into a PM asking you to ‘watch an amazing video’ then I can help show you another way. I NEVER do that. Please don’t do it either!

The biggest challenge of being a Younique presenter is not selling or recruiting. It is overcoming the misinformation that is out there. Its shaking off the poor practices of other people in DS and (sorry) other Younique presenters that came before you. But as time goes on, and those people drop off (usually blaming the products for not being good enough – meh) then people are starting to understand that there is more to this than a flash in the pan person trying desperately to make her money back on the kit. Or someone holding constant sales to clear the stock that’s building up under her bed. There is a better way, I promise.

If you have a thought about joining Younique and you want some help – then drop me a line.  emmasnead75@gmail.com or Facebook

20526123_10154555539397811_3214550910721044460_nIf you have already signed up under me OR if you are in my downline and signed up underneath one of my guys then you know where I am.  I am your disposal!

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, email, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom,WatsApp and my mobile phone. I’ll even come and see you next time I’m passing! I do not do hard sell and I won’t ask you to work harder or give up EastEnders. Together we will work on your goals (remember – we talked about them earlier) I will do what I can to help align those expectations with the time you have available.

If you’re thinking of joining and you are looking for a sponsor then come find me. I’m here!

If you want to know more before you sign up under someone else then, sure, I’ll help with that too – but ask yourself why you are coming to me and not them!
Finally, if you have already signed up with someone else then I wish you all kinds of luck and success! A rising tide lifts all boats and the more people who try, and fall in love with our fabulous products and this incredible opportunity then the better it is for us all. I compete with no-one !  Go find your upline and speak to them. This is what they are there for.

Thinking of signing up?

19113810_10154395942697811_9163007917523234682_nYou MUST have a sponsor. It doesn’t matter who it is or where they are in the world (part of my team are in the US, some are in NZ and I have others in the UK and FRANCE) but you need someone to join ‘under’.  You also need to buy from ‘someone’ and if you are looking to make a purchase, just click this link.

It so so important that you choose the right sponsor.  You will dictate your own success. You cannot blame your sponsor if you fail, but if you want to feel part of something then get yourself connected to a person you align with.

I urge you to call me and chat! I want you to do what is right for you! I’m a spur of the moment girl as well, but it can’t hurt to have a chat eh? Ok.. If I can’t stop you, then you know where to go….click this link here!

If you sign up, you will get a kit in the post in about 5 days. It varies and new things are constantly added but it is always awesome value and has something for everyone, plus loads of stuff that you can use to demo or give your friends as samples.

I’ll be in touch right away (if you are just after the kit and don’t want to hear from me ever again, just say.. I won’t be offended!)

I will add you to my team chat group over on Facebook where we cover everything from eyeliner to contouring, wine, cake and social media.  If you live near to any of the other team members I’ll hook you guys up and you can share your success.  Joint parties!  A massive kit!  Extra wine!

And of course, I’ll add you to some amazing team training groups and you can meet the extended family.  It’s like getting married without any of the commitment and no worries about the family turning up on Xmas day.

This month (September 2017), I’m off to ‘Empower You’ – a UK event being held in Telford. A big chunk of my team are going too and I am so excited. Some of them I have NEVER met but I just know I love them

21457879_505335723142398_4920574609799864045_oAnyway. Thanks for indulging me with your time. Thanks for making the effort to find out more.  If you still think that Younique is just one of those pyramid schemes then I’m sorry.  I tried but I know there will always be people who will think like that.  I’m a busy girl and I don’t have time to argue with strangers over the internet!

If you have changed your mind then let me know. I would love to hear from you.  Click this link to connect with me on Facebook.

Click here for a link to my website where you can take a proper look around!

And if you want to chat.  Get in touch.

You may have noticed that I haven’t talked about make-up skills or how beautiful you look?  That’s because it doesn’t matter.  When I joined I could barely hold an eye liner pencil or put lipstick on without looking like a clown.

In 2 years or so, I have marginally improved my skills, but I’m still me. I’m still the same 40 something woman, with wrinkles and blotches and age spots.  I still carry too much weight and have a dent in my nose from chicken pox.  Contrary to all you may see.. I actually hate having my photo taken.  Selfies are my nemesis and it’s worse now because #NOFILTER (you can’t filter – it distorts the colour and texture of the makeup!!)

I have a slightly wonky eye and eyebrows that are so pale it looks like I shaved them off.

I have a busy day job, a 6 year old son and I’m living in a foreign country with a scant understanding of the language.  I have endometriosis and fibromyalgia and sometimes I struggle to take my head off the pillow and get out of bed,  but I am me.

I’m (fairly) boring and quite normal and other people look at me and think ‘If she can do it then so could I’ and you can.  You absolutely can.  Dammit there are presenters in Younique who have no eyelashes but they still sell mascara!  If they can do it then so can I!

My team has some awesome make up skills.  Some great photographers and graphics skills.  Some of my girls have time on their hands others don’t but we all work together.  That’s what my tribe are like.  Come and join us.

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